Monday, August 4, 2008

Money Talks, Coody Walks

Looking over the Final Agenda for the August 5th Fayetteville City Council meeting, two things stand out because they are not there. More little Coody promises that never quite get done, either because he is flitting off the exotic vacation spots for conferences or because he fails to follow through or pay attention to detail.

The Ozark Regional Transit Board and management have decided to eliminate Route 47, one of the most cost efficient bus routes in Fayetteville, and has announced plans to abolish another half route in the next fiscal year. Dr. Susan Thomas, Ph.D. is the Mayor's representative on the ORT Board, and Coody said last week that he might ask the Council to find $20,000 to save half a route. Maybe so, maybe not. In either case, there is nothing on the agenda to deal with the situation and save even half a route. Maybe Mayor Coody doesn't know anyone who rides the bus to the Fayetteville Country Club, so why bother?

Even more irresponsible has been Coody's response to supporting the Fayetteville Arts Festival. The City Council passed a Resolution back in May, requesting that the Advertising and Promotion Commission provide $35,000 to support the arts festival, even though Daniel Keeley, the so-called board president of Fayetteville Downtown Partners, had failed to request funding this year. Finally at the July Commission meeting, Coody ignores the Council Resolution and requests only $5,000 from the A&P Commission and, without discussing it with the Council, says he will somehow match that with $5,000 in city funds. He couldn't even get that passed, although he is a member of the Board by his own appointment. Finally, on a 3-2 vote, he got the A&P commissioners to cough up a measly $2,500 if the city would match that.

The Fayetteville Arts Festival opens on the 29th of this month, so they need all available funds for promotion and publicity immediately to help assure a successful and well-attended festival. Did Mayor Coody put anything on the City Council agenda this week for funding the paltry $2,500 contribution from the city? Not a nickel. Maybe he will get around to it after the festival is over, if ever, but he will tell you how much he supports the arts.

This should give you some idea how hard Mayor Coody is working to support and retain the Walton Arts Center. His new slogan should be "Keep a good thing going to Benton County."

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